Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taking Care of Company Business

Now that the Hollow job has been suspended for the winter, the restoration crew is working on company owned properties. In this picture, Jon Miano is putting the finishing touches on a sill replacement at the apartment located behind Farmer's Bank. This building is a modern reconstruction, so we replaced the heart-pine sill with a pressure treated yellow-pine one. We have noticed that the resawn heart-pine is not giving us the life expectancy that we were hoping for, so rather then use pricey material needlessly, we are going with an easily available and affordable alternative when we can. The crew also replaced the threshold at the carriage house of the Cole-Digges with pressure treated material. The door opening was a modern alteration to the carriage house, which once again enabled us to use material of our choosing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hollow season ended?

In the two weeks of November 10th and November 17th the restoration dept restored and rehung the badly damaged right front door and finished the installation of all the siding for the West gable end. Winter has set in in Fauquier, and the dept was unable to finish priming or painting. The crew is still waiting on the delivery for the siding necessary to do the back of the house. A tarp has been rigged over the chimney shoulders to prevent water entry until spring, when the mason can tuck point between the chimney and the siding. The restoration crew plans to make bed molding for the front of the house, consolidate the period bed mold for the back, and make backband for the windows and the center front door. The crew hopes to catch some good weather this winter to paint and install the aforementioned trim, but it may have to wait until the next phase of restoration in the summer of '09.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween

APVA Preservation Virginia has come a long way in 119 years - at least our ladies smile now!!

Hollow Affronted

The front siding for the Hollow was installed and primed this week of 10/27/08. The restoration crew received enough siding to finish the west gable end next week, but are still waiting on material for the back side. The Hollow is finally starting to look like an 18th century house. Windows and interior restoration is planned for next year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jamestown Archaeological Conference, Nov 20

2008 Jamestown Conference

The staff of the APVA Preservation Virginia’s Jamestown Rediscovery Project, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Archaeology Department are pleased to announce that the 2008 Jamestown Conference will be held on Thursday, November 20, in Williamsburg, VA. The conference, by and for regional archaeologists will be held at Colonial Williamsburg's Lane Auditorium in the Bruton Heights complex from 9:00 am to approximately 4:00 pm.

As is traditional, the conference will be an informal sharing of recent archaeological work work. Presentations consist of 20 minute papers from any discipline with a bearing on the archaeology of the Chesapeake Region (c. 16th-19th centuries.) Many papers will be fairly technical in nature, but the conference is free and open to all interested persons.

If you know anyone who wishes to present an archaeological paper, please have them contact before Nov. 5.

Conference information including the schedule will be posted by November 7 at

For additional information, contact the 2008 Jamestown Conference Organizers: Jamie May; David Givens; Meredith Poole; Andy Edwards; Ed Chappell

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hollow Front Side-Week of 10/20/08

The Restoration crew concentrated their efforts on the front side of the Hollow this week. After repairing the generator, Karl started the tedious process of restoring the pieces of 18th century siding located on the southwest section of the house. He is using both abatron and west system liquid epoxies and Woodepox paste filler made by abatron. The weather has cooled considerably, so the temperature window for using epoxy products is closing.
The crew also did an assessment of the heart poplar siding on hand. They determined that there was enough siding to completely finish the front, so Mike belt sanded and beaded siding. He installed prepped siding Wednesday afternoon. The project was cut short this week because of tent take down duties at the Customs House. The supplier is supposed to deliver more siding this weekend. He is having difficulties finding logs large enough to make 9.5 inch wide heart poplar boards. Jon continues to work on the exterior of Bacon's Castle and has not quite finished the Godspeed Cottage shutters.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

East End

The East end of the Hollow is now completely finished. The restoration crew has tent duties for the 16th,17th and the 23rd, and has not yet received their entire heart poplar order, which will limit progress on the house. The crew intends to make repairs to their generator the week of Oct. 20th, and if that is successful they will side the front of the house.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Visible Progress

After weeks of consolidating old doors and old trim, squaring existing door openings and making and installing period trim, the Restoration Dept finally has something to show at the Hollow. The East gable end is almost completely sided, save for a few short rows above a 20th century window opening. What took so long? Each of the 9.5 inch wide by 16 feet long pieces of heart poplar siding had to be belt sanded to remove the planer marks and then beaded, with a router for expediency. The work is being done on site with a generator as the power source.
The second picture shows the Northern, back view of the house. The window openings are exact duplicates of the existing original window in the front. They are unusual for an 18th century house because they are nail framed instead of mortice-and-tenon framed. The exterior and interior trims for the windows are jointed at their corners by mortice and tenon, then nailed into place. Why are the frames done so simply and the trim so complex? Next time you bump into Louis ask him, thats why he makes the big bucks. The back door was preserved in its 20 century, tenant house style.
Back on the peninsula but not forgotten, Jon has at last finished all the exterior painting at Smith's Fort. He has also been repairing and replacing storm shutters for the Godspeed cottage, at the request of resident Archeology Directer Bill Kelso. He will soon turn his attention to exterior repairs at Bacon's Castle, among other tasks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mary Washington Branch hosts Our Living Legacies

September 12-14, the Mary Washington Branch will be hosting the annual "Our Living Legacies". Titled "Characters and Craftsmen", this event will highlight people and crafts from our past.

Visit the Mary Washington House where Mary Ball Washington, mother of our first President, lived for seventeen years. An exhibit will feature a collection of late 19th-century quilts made by Dallie Belle Jennings Embrey, a local quilter. In addition, there will be an exhibit of needlework, including samplers provided by the Monticello Needlearts EGA Chapter and the Fauquier EGA Chapter.
On Saturday, members of the Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society will provide living history interpretation in the house. Outside there will be children’s Colonial games and dancing.
The Fredericksburg Spinners and Weavers Guild will be giving demonstrations of their skills and showing finished works on Saturday and Sunday from 10 - 2 p.m.

Come view the Rising Sun Tavern From the Inside-Out. Colonial carpenter-cabinetmaker-joiner Glenn Hyatt will demonstrate methods by which the tavern was built and tools appropriate to the task. He will provide examples of joinery and pegs, period siding and roofing, doors, hinges, and other elements of colonial carpentry. There will be graphic displays of construction techniques and blueprints of the tavern. Mr. Hyatt will also lead "bare bones" tours of the basement for those interested. Glenn will be available Friday 12 - 4; Saturday 11 - 4; and Sunday 12 - 4.
In addition, discover which of Burnside’s artillery batteries shelled the tavern and see the holes they left in our rafters; Friday 12 - 4; Saturday 11 - 4; and Sunday 12 - 4.

At the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, we will look at "The Many Faces of Hugh Mercer".

There are no known portraits of Hugh Mercer, but this exhibit will show you how artists of the 18th and 19th centuries envisioned his appearance.
Also tour the shop’s physic garden to learn of the medicinal plants Dr. Mercer might have employed.

The St. James' House is open 1-4 p.m. all 3 days.
Antique collectors will be available on Saturday and Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. to give verbal evaluations of your treasures for $5 per item.
On view will be an exhibit honoring 19th-century local hero Matthew Fontaine Maury. He is known as "The Pathfinder of the Seas". This oceanographer, astronomer and Civil War Naval Commander was born in Spotsylvania County. Find out why Matthew Fontaine Maury’s portrait was turned upside down and face to the wall by the Salem Marine Society in Salem, MA.
There is a block ticket available. Adults $10, Students age 6-18 $5.

Our raffle prize this year is this beautiful reproduction of a Chippendale mirror hanging in the Rising Sun Tavern. It was crafted by Glenn Hyatt and is made from 100 year old cherry wood. You may view it in the Mary Washington House Museum Shop or Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. They may be purchased online or at any of the sites.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

History Mystery at the Hollow

The APVA restoration crew discovered the initials"JHM" carved into a piece of window trim while working on the only intact 1763-1764 original window at the Hollow. Unfortunately, the trim piece was attached to the window in the 19th century, as evidenced by the cut nails used. Cheryl Sheperd, the architectural historian for the Hollow, was consulted. Her preliminary research suggests that the initials might belong to John H. Marshall, born to Elizabeth Markham Marshall at nearby Montblanc in 1866. She will further research the topic and keep us posted as to her findings.
The crew has also installed heart poplar siding to the West gable end of the Hollow. This involved setting corner trim and cutting the chimney stones against the wall back so the siding can be tucked behind them and then mortared tight. They used the original siding still intact on the Southwest corner of the Hollow and the early nail holes to reproduce the siding pattern that will be used over the whole house.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cole-Diggs beautification

On August 21, 2008, Karl and Mike of the restoration department installed a new crawl space hatch in the courtyard of the Cole-Diggs house. The old hatch appeared to be pre- WW-II vintage, judging from it's old cut nails and the circular-sawn heart-pine construction. It had deteriorated very badly. It was no longer capable of holding paint, nor was it adequately supporting the masonry above it, as evidenced by the collapse of three of the interior bricks above it. The new hatch is all pressure-treated 3" by 9" pine, joined by mortise and tenon. Jon is still working at Smith's Fort. He has finished all of the exterior painting except for the cornice. He has also cleaned the garden fences, to give the plantation a clean, well kept appearance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Smith's Fort Facelift et al

The restoration crew is deligently trying to diminish the deferred maintenance list before August 11th when they start the siding phase at the Hollow. They fixed the leak over Betty's head at the Cole-Digges on July 1st, which turned out to be a very poorly sealed flange for an air duct in the HVAC unit. Betty was so impressed with the aroma of the Geocel 2315 liquid rubber product we used that she is trying to find it in aerosol form to spritz in her office. The pictures you see are the exterior elements of Smith's Fort. It is our intention to repaint all of the exterior trim of the house. As you can see, it needed doing. Due to the weather and the extensive amount of scraping, sanding and window reglazing this job will take 3 men about 4 weeks to finish.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scotchtown Monument

On the 27th of June, the restoration dept set the "Colonial Dames" plaque at Scotchtown on the brick pedestal they constructed. Scotchtown has a monument area, and this was installed in a manner as to compliment the two existing plaque monuments. This task took two men 4 days to do, mostly because there were 3 distinct phases of construction, each of which was dependent on the successful completion of the prior.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Marshall chimney works continues

Also had a chance to visit the John Marshall House on Friday to check on the ongoing roof repair. As Doug has previously reported, the chimney stack on the Courthouse side of the roof was found to have significant deterioration when the flashing was removed. As the scaffolding was in place and the time to make the repairs was right, we quickly engaged Davies Masonry to undertake the repairs. These photos were taken with my camera, but not by me. Being "height-adverse", I sent Doug up the 40 foot aluminum ladder with the camera where he enlisted one of the masons to take some photos of the work.

Tombstone Work Continues

I had a chance to visit Historic Jamestowne last Friday to check in on the ongoing restoration work on the tombs near the rear wall of the Memorial Church. Much has taken place since my last visit in early June . We choose to concentrate on the two tombs showing the most deterioration. Once the infill had been removed and the loose bricks and brick debris, there was pratcially nothing left to work with, so the tombs are being essentailly reconstructed. All usable bricks and pieces of stonework are being incorportated as possible. Davies Masonry is handling the project and Jon Miano of our restoration crew is assisting. This continues Jon's training in masonry work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Roofing tiles take form at the JMHouse

Paul Saunders Roofing Company is continuing their hard work at the historic APVA John Marshall House, downtown, 818 East Marshall Street. The western roof is now almost half done. New support boards have been installed, tar paper placed and about one-third of the concrete "hendrix" tiles secured. After I finally made my way (carefully on the bouncing aluminum ladder----don't try this at home!) to the top, I was immediately impressed with the quality look of the tiles and their installation. They looked just like cedar shakes. It was at the end of the day, so just one young man was working on the chimney atop the roof at that time. Much of the exterior grout had worn away, so it was carefully replacing it with a special sand and mortar mixture common to the late 18th century. Today, the roofers may finish the entire roof side and will then begin the permanent installation of the chimney flashing. The final phase of this side of the roof will include placement of the gutters and downspouts. Call me at 804-339-6007-- Doug Welsh, if you have any questions. Anyone wishing to visit is welcome! Just let me know and I can plan a tour of the house for you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Update on Strategic Planning


The regularly schedule meeting of APVA Preservation Virginia’s Trustees was held in Richmond on 18 June 2008.

The meeting focused on continuing the Strategic Planning Process with the goals of approving the new vision statement, the revised mission statement, and the goals for the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan. In addition, the Board committees and task forces reported on the progress in each of their areas to determine objectives to meet the draft goals.

President John Guy summarized the planning since February. He asked Board Members Eric Thorpe and Gennie Keller, and Executive Director and Secretary Elizabeth Kostelny to report on different aspects of the planning process and the drafting of the vision, mission, and goals.

Vision, Mission, and Goal Statements Approved.
The Board approved the preamble, vision, mission, and goal statements below. The preamble provides context for the vision and mission statements and concisely describes the heritage, statewide activities, and influence of APVA Preservation Virginia. We will use it on our website and other communication venues.

APVA Preservation Virginia, a private non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889 is dedicated to perpetuating and revitalizing Virginia's cultural, architectural, and historic heritage, thereby ensuring that historic places are an integral part of the lives of present and future generations. Our mission is directly consistent with and supportive of Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia, benefiting both the Commonwealth and the nation. APVA Preservation Virginia provides leadership, experience, influence, and services to the public and special audiences. Results are achieved by saving, managing, and protecting historic places and by developing preservation policy, programs, and strategies. We partner at the local, state, and national levels with individuals and organizations.

Vision Statement.
We envision a Virginia recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for preserving and promoting its distinctive historic structures, landscapes, collections, communities and archaeological sites—guided by the expert leadership, stewardship and advocacy of APVA Preservation Virginia.

Mission Statement.
The mission of APVA Preservation Virginia is to preserve, promote, and serve as an advocate for the state’s irreplaceable historic places, thereby providing cultural, economic, and educational benefits to everyone.

--Historic places are preserved in perpetuity―Partner to Preserve Historic Places.
--Through a strategic communication plan and educational and public programs, a strong preservation ethic will be developed that supports the stewardship of historic places—Promote Places and Programs.
--The organization is capable and financially sustainable in effectively fulfilling its mission. Attract Supporters and Members and Organize for Future Success.

Executive Director.
Executive Director Elizabeth Kostelny announced the close on the sale of Gay Mont in Caroline County. She stated that the gift by Mr. and Mrs. Patton in the 1970s was intended to help support the long-term preservation of the property and to benefit the organization. The new owners of Gay Mont are bound by easements on the property and will reconstruct some of the structural elements not reconstructed by the Pattons. In addition, the purchasers are keeping the majority of the furnishings with the house, as was the Pattons’ desire. The funds from the sale of the house will be invested in the long-term reserves. The long-term cash reserves help to produce interest income that offsets the operational expenses. The funds from the sale of the collection will be restricted for the reimbursement of acquisitions to and conservation of the collection. She recognized the Pattons for their generosity and vision.

Chair Anne Cross reported that the Committee was renewing its efforts to identify Board candidates to help support the needs of APVA, including candidates with the capacity to give or influence gifts at a high level. She also reported succession leadership plans had been implemented by naming vice chairs to all Board committees.

Chair Bob Sedivy presented a chart that analyzed the allocation of revenue and expenses to the major operation components of programming—public policy, membership, properties without Historic Jamestowne, Historic Jamestowne, and the Revolving Fund. The chart illustrates how in each area of the organization incurs a deficit. Committees and staff will use the analysis in planning to see where additional revenues can be raised, expenses can be trimmed, and activities discontinued. It was acknowledged that there would always be a tension between worthwhile programs we must subsidize and those that can carry them. This exercise is a way to create a proactive strategy going forward to close the gap between revenues and expenses.

Organizational Task Force.
Chair Barry Kerkam reported on the President’s Council meeting that took place on 16 May. Thirteen branches attended and discussed issues related to the draft criteria for branch participation. The Branches representatives have been asked to comment by 15 July. The Task Force will review those comments and present a final proposal for the structure, and criteria related to Branches and Partners to the Board at the 17 September meeting.

Historic Jamestowne Task Force and Historic Jamestowne Archaeology.
Chair Carter Hudgins reported on the first meeting of this group and the consideration of a draft mission statement for Historic Jamestowne. The group is also looking at the long-term strategies needed to plan for and sustain the continued research, expanded public programs, marketing, and promotion of the site. Dr. William Kelso reported on the field school and recent finds.

Preservation Services.
Chair Katty Mears reported on the Committee’s work to draft criteria by which to evaluate and rank the properties. The Board approved the criteria and asked that the ranking process begin. The criteria will be used to evaluate the best long-term stewards of the properties. It also will be used to evaluate the consideration of any properties in the future. Mrs. Mears presented benchmarks that will be used to evaluate all APVA programs for their effectiveness in supporting the mission, returning investment to the organization, and achieving our goals. Two rugs were deaccessioned from the Mary Washington Branch properties.

Revolving Fund.
Manager Sarah Cooleen updated the Trustees on the status of properties in the Fund and on strategic planning goals of finding dedicated funding for the operations of the Fund, as well as ways to expand the marketing of the program and properties within it.

Interim Director of Development Mary Ellen Stumpf shared the objectives of the development effort to review recommended models for the staffing structure of the department, test a satellite office in the Williamsburg area, and expand the Development Committee. She also noted the necessity to prioritize short- and long-term needs, determine endowment goals, and review the Historic Jamestowne Campaign Phase Two and Three priorities. In membership, set a goal to increase membership to 6,400 units by 2014—effectively doubling the membership role; pilot acquisition stations at Historic Jamestowne and Old Cape Henry Lighthouse; coordinate with the National Trust on appeal to Virginia members; and to increase and sustain a renewal rate from 67% to 75%.

Branding Initiative.
Marketing and Public Relations Director Tina Calhoun reported on the branding initiative to be launched this year. The first step will be an on-line survey to test organizational name and its effectiveness in conveying our mission. The survey also will clarify existing logos for the APVA, Historic Jamestowne, and Jamestown Rediscovery. The results will be used to create corporate identity guidelines, design new materials and develop statewide templates for various printed pieces. We will partner with the VCU Design School. The partnership has the following advantages: 1) supports the concept of partnerships that is listed as part of APVA’s vision and goals and helps forge a new relationship with VCU; 2) offers an opportunity to involve younger people in our work and perhaps introduce the concept of historic preservation to college age students; 3) offers the opportunity to leverage the partnership in future media opportunities; and 4) the APVA's first logo of three ships was designed by VCU students and used by APVA for almost thirty years, an interesting angle to pitch to the media. The results will be a corporate identity package that will be used by all programs, properties, services and branches.

Regional Trustee Reports.
Mrs. Cross, Mrs. Mears, and Dr. Wills reported on the Branches in their region. Mrs. Kenneweg was not present.

Restoration and Repair proceeds at John Marshall House

Intensive restoration work is now proceeding with great speed and care at the John Marshall House! Paul Saunders Roofing Company ( is now replacing the aging ashpalt shingle roof. The first step was to erect scaffolding and begin removing the plywood under-support sheathing. This exposed the massive support beams, which even the most experienced carpenter gazes on with wonder. Ken, the crew supervisor, said they would have no problem replacing the plywood with the more authentic support boards. "Everything is still completely straight!," he said. The builder of the John Marshall House, perhaps a shipbuilder, based on the construction, took no chances that the roof would sag. It is amply supported and pegged. Special "Hendrix tiles" are being placed this week. They will look just like ceder or cypress shakes----the original roof material. Gutters will also be installed, which will help tremendously with a decades-old water problem, especially on the west side of the house. If you are a good climber and have the willpower, Ken will probably let you come up for a look!!!! Call me at 804-339-6007 so I can schedule the adventure.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gay Mont--SOLD!

On June 12, APVA Preservation Virginia closed on a sale of Gay Mont in Caroline County. The house will be restored to a private and livable home. The grounds that Jim Patton so lovingly cultivated will be returned to their once grand beauty.

Mr. and Mrs. James Patton gave Gay Mont and its collection of furnishings related to the house to APVA in the late 1970s. The House was rebuilt after a tragic fire in the 1950s. The Pattons took care in putting the 275 plus acres under easement so that no development of the land may ever take place. The Pattons’ retained a life-time tenancy. Mr. Patton, the last remaining resident, passed away in November of 2007.

When the house was acquired, there might have been a brief thought that it would function as a historic house museum. That thought was fleeting, however, with the recognition that visitation could sustain a financial model for the long-term preservation of the house. Mr. Patton acknowledged this fact as well. He did desire that every effort the made to keep the house and the collection so lovingly brought back to Gay Mont be kept together as much as possible. That desire proved one of our biggest challenges.

When Mr. Patton died in November, APVA became the owner of the house. The Restoration Crew secured the house and posted signs to deter trespassers. Cathy Dean began a full inventory of the collection. Louis Malon began the process of securing appraisals. The neighbors who had nursed Mr. Patton looked in to make sure all was secure.

Shortly after acquiring the house, an individual stepped forward to purchase the property. He undertook engineering and architectural studies to determine that his needs could be accommodated. He plans to re-build the music room, complete the second floor and modernize the bathrooms and kitchen. Through Cathy’s good work, she negotiated a sale of the collection with the intent of keeping the majority of it with the house. And thanks to Sarah’s tenacity, the property closed on time while Louis jetted off to Hawaii.

The sale of Gay Mont represents a beneficial model in historic preservation. Knowing that it is unwise to think of preservation soley within the context of historic house museums, placing Gay Mont in private hands with the resources to restore and preserve it is wise. The proceeds from the sale will be invested in APVA Preservation Virginia’s future. Under our policy, the sale proceeds will be placed in our long-term cash reserves to generate interest income for the on-going operations of the organization. The funds resulting from the sale of the collection will be restricted to acquire new objects for the collection or to help conserve objects already in the collection.

The Pattons gave us a great gift—perhaps greater then anyone realized at the time. The Pattons gave APVA Preservation Virginia the gift of security. Security in knowing that the funds from the sale invested in the long-term cash reserves will generate operating support for years to come. THANK YOU MR. and MRS. PATTON!

And thanks to all who helped make the sale of Gay Mont seem effortless!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nous avons finis

The restoration dept traveled to Scotchtown on Thursday June 12, 2008 to set the pad for the "Colonial Dames" plaque, which has been on a temporary post since 2003. Five years for the APVA is a relatively small period of time. On the following day, the crew finished the last stages of the dependancies roofing at Smith"s Fort. This job required 8 days for 3 men, one to true and round shingles and 2 to strip the old shingles and install new ones. The shingles cost $1350, a consideral expense for sure, but the roofs should last 30-plus years.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Too Close for Comfort

The large Maple tree that has shaded the rear of Scotchtown, Patrick Henry's former home in Hanover County, is dead. After showing signs of distress the last couple of years, it has simply not leafed out at all this year. Ann Reid has secured prices for having it removed, as well as some of the other large trees at the site trimmed back to remove dead and threatening limbs. Because this tree is inside the fence area, that area of concern to The Garden Club of Virginia, and is such a significant landscape feature on the property, we have solicited their permission to have it removed and their advice about having it replaced. Having seen this picture, the advisor to the Club, Will Reilly, concurs that the tree has to go.

Not only is the tree dying, it poses a significant threat to the house because of its proximity. This raises a bit of a dilemma for us. We appreciate the shading value of a mature tree this close to the structure. Passive ventilation and use of natural alternatives to machine powered air conditioning as much as possible is one of the aspects of sustainability that we preach about old houses. However, when those features become fragile with age and natural cycles, as well as the threat of storms as we learned in Isabelle a few years ago, the safety of the house from an obvious threat has to be considered. When this feature is replaced, we will seek a buffer from the House so as it matures it will not present a new threat for future stewards to worry about.

Smith,s Fort Dependancies

On Friday, June 6, 2008, Karl and Mike of the restoration dept finished roofing the necessary house, while Jon worked with Davies Masonry on the tombs at the Jamestown church.
The following Monday, with the same working arrangements, the North side of the tool shed was stripped and then covered with sheet rubber held on with wood strips. The rubber is much heavier than plastic tarps and much more reliable. Its a damn shame those idiots in restoration can't figure out how to arrange and caption their pictures better.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

1 down, 3 to go

The restoration crew finished the North side of the necessary house at Smiths Fort plantation on June 5th, 2008, leaving the South side, plus the tool shed on the other corner of the yard to go. The shingles are 24 inch, medium cedar "handsplits", meaning they are about one-half inch at the butt, sawn on the bottom and split on the top. The process of setting up scaffold, tearing off the old roof and installing new shingles takes two men about two days per side, which does not include trueing the shingle edges and rounding them on a bandsaw. The old shingles were sawn cypress and had been installed @1985.

Monday, June 2, 2008


The pumphouse at Bacon's Castle is completely finished as of June 2nd, 2008. It has the exact same dimensions and details as the old, termite infested building, but is completely termite proof. We were able to reuse the door, soffite, facia, and roof sheathing on the south side. The light was added as a convenience, since the castle grounds are so poorly lit. We will start on the re-roofing of the two dependancies at Smith's Fort on the 3rd.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

John Marshall House notes, Thursday 5/29

We are about ready to enter the summer season. Last week we had a taste of potentially higher guest and gift shop revenues. There was a large volleyball tournament in town and the parents and children of those playing would walk down the two blocks from the Richmond Convention Center to do a bit of site seeing. Our new fence gate, thanks to Mike and the Jamestown Restoration Crew, has added to the overall "curb appeal" of the house. Our garden continues to be a draw and will soon be "updated" with the semi-annual donation of 300 annual by Stranges Florist of Richmond. Plans for a summer "Garden Day" are underway and we hope to have 4th of July Celebration a day early on July 3rd. Those program plans are also in the process of being finalized.


The muleshop babies are all grown up. They are flying about the shop, while mom continues to feed them. They should be gone soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The Hollow" roof

John Marshall's boyhood home in Fauquier county called "The Hollow" finally has a new roof, and tan lines. The roof was started by the restoration department in 2007, but due to supply problems could not be finished before winter of that year. The crew laid the final 7 rows needed to finish the roof by May 22, 2008. As you can see, considerable oxidation occurred over the winter months. The next phase of the project is to reopen the two back windows and install period reproduction heart poplar siding over almost the entire house.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Historic Jamestowne—a year after 2007

Maybe the Queen and the President are not on their way, there is still much activity at Historic Jamestowne.

April 1—Excavation site opened.
May 4-5 Bill Kelso takes Historic Jamestowne Rediscovery to the Big Apple with
speaking engagements at the University Club to the Colonia Dames and
at the Explorer’s Club.
May 10—Jamestown Landing Day in cooperation with the Jamestown Yorktown
Foundation welcomed visitors to enjoy educational and entertaining programs
May 13—Announcement of Virginia’s Most Endangered Sites on the 401st
anniversary at the site where our nation began, the statewide historic
preservation movement took some of its initial steps and historical archaeology was born and continues to be refined—see the list at
June 2—2008 Field School begins

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mulebarn Babies

Shhhh! Keep your voices down while in the mulebarn. Moma Wren has babies now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Marshall House Gated

The restoration crew took the tent down and finished installing the gate for the ninth street entrance at the John Marshall House on May 13th, 2008. The gate brings a "finished" look to the backyard. Retired coastguardsman and groundskeeper Harry Long is doing quality control for today's job.

Historic Smithfield New Roof

Historic Smithfield Plantation celebrated the completion of a new roof this spring. April 7, 2008 we were joined by First Lady of Virginia, Anne Holton, APVA Preservation VA Executive Director, Elizabeth Kostelny, APVA Preservation VA Director of Preservation Services, Loius Malon, Blacksburg Mayor, Ron Rordam and Norfolk -Southern Vice President of Coal, Danny Smith. Tom Tillar, president of the Smithfield-Preston Foundation also joined in the ceremony as he presented gifts to our guests.

The roof is a shake shingle roof in keeping with the original roof on the 1774 house. Wayne Simpson and his crew from New River Valley Roofing did the work in a very timely and skilled manor. Copper flashing was used around chimneys and corners as well as along the ridgeline. This will help to extend the life of the shingles as the rain will wash minerals from the copper over the roof which will inhibit the growth of algae and other things that speed disintegration of the shakes. The old roof was over 40 years old and had shown signs of failure as shingles had been blown off, rotted off or were harboring sites where things could actually grow!

We are extremely pleased with the new roof which was made possible through a generous grant from the Norfolk-Southern Foundation and support from APVA Preservation Virginia.